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Despite sullied past, Dodgers Dream Foundation continues to forge ahead

September 22, 2010 |  2:10 pm

Here’s the question: Why?

Why would anyone donate money to the Dodgers Dream Foundation? Why would they even want to be affiliated with it?

The foundation is under investigation by the California attorney general’s office for paying club executive Howard Sunkin a salary of $400,000 in 2007 -- which was over a quarter of the charity’s entire budget.

Every time I write that, I feel like I need a shower.

At this point, you would think it would be best if the charity just closed shop and the Dodgers started fresh with a new foundation in a year or two.

I mean, who would write these people a check? Why would they?

The easy answer is, the charity still does good work. That despite the Sunkin fiasco, it can otherwise point to nine baseball or softball fields it has built or renovated in the community. To the camps and clinics it hosts.

But there are plenty of charities that do good work. The Dodgers even have another one -- which is actually their official charity -- ThinkCure!

Yet the Dodgers Dream Foundation not only forges ahead, Thursday it will announce a new venture, partnering with Cal State Northridge to carry on the legacy of Hall of Fame catcher Roy Campanella.

The funds reportedly still come in because the Dream Foundation doesn’t rely on Joe Blow to write a check. Its funding comes from businesses affiliated with the Dodgers which were finagled into a donation, from golf tournaments, fundraisers and, of course, the players.

The Dodgers already got into trouble once with the Dream Foundation. After signing Manny Ramirez to his last contract, they had him make out a donation and then said that would be their model for future contracts. At least it was until it was thrown back at them by the Players Union.

Players, like everyone else, should be free to donate to the charity of their choice. When the donation is made, there is a trust factor involved. A factor violated by the Dodgers and Sunkin.

I’m sure the Campanella initiative will sound admirable and well-intended. But Cal State Northridge could have hooked up with another worthwhile endeavor that wasn’t affiliated with a charity that is damaged goods.

-- Steve Dilbeck


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